Russians Prepare to Leave Syria as Fighting Continues in Damascus

Sign that Assad's closest ally might be having doubts over Syria's future


BEIRUT — Government forces and rebels battled in the suburbs of Damascus and elsewhere in Syria on Tuesday as the first group of Russian citizens prepared to be evacuated from the country to escape nearly two years of conflict.

Russia is sending two planes to Lebanon to start evacuating its citizens from Syria, the strongest sign yet that President Bashar Assad's most important international ally has serious doubts about his ability to cling to power.